For the most part, UFC Ottawa was a lackluster card, but the main event between Donald Cerrone and Al Iaquinta delivered as you might expect. Cerrone was superb, showing off his superior and more diverse striking on his way to an impressive five-round decision over the insanely tough Iaquinta. His jab was on point, the leg kicks hampered Al’s movement, and his combinations were flowing so smoothly. Iaquinta had few answers and was badly hurt multiple times over, his face rendered a bloody mess.
“Cowboy” has re-entered the title picture at 155 lbs in a big way. He looks better than ever before, and he shook off most of Al’s big power shots throughout the contest. Hats off to both men for an unsurprisingly entertaining, hard-fought contest, but Cerrone was undoubtedly a cut above the Long Island native.
I would love nothing more for Cerrone to get a title shot this year. He is one of the best fighters to never win a major MMA title, and his longevity and sustained success in the sport against elite competition is so damn admirable.
- Yeah, we all picked Iaquinta on the Bloody Elbow staff predictions. I was hoping that wouldn’t be the case. We are a curse.
- To anyone who endured the entire 15 minutes of Derek Brunson and Elias Theodorou... I salute you. That was an extremely middleweight fight (read: it was awful) and Brunson won a unanimous decision. There is no sugarcoating how bizarre and bad it was, and perhaps it best summed up much of this card.
- “Hurricane” Shane Burgos outworked and outstruck longtime featherweight contender Cub Swanson for a
unanimoussplit decision win, because David Therien for god knows what reason scored it a shutout win for Swanson. It was a good, well-paced technical scrap and Burgos deserved the W. Swanson has now lost four straight, and while he fought well, it’s clear now that his best days are behind him.
- Bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili used his wrestling and largely denied Brad Katona opportunities to scramble, as the Serra-Longo fighter picked up a shutout decision win. Given Dvalishvili’s tough start to his UFC career with losses to Frankie Saenz and Ricky Simon, he’s now won two straight and this was his best performance to date.
- Heavyweight veteran Walt Harris smoked Sergey Spivak in 50 seconds by pulverizing him agianst the cage before stuffing him in a locker. Spivak looked way out of his depth and Harris styled on him as expected.
- Andrew Sanchez survived a serious onslaught of shots from Canadian middleweight newcomer Marc-Andre Barriault in the second-round to get the decisive third round, and thus the decision. The crowd wasn’t too keen on Sanchez’s whole “use his wrestling” strategy, especially given how fun the second frame was.
- Macy Chiasson is a problem at 135. I was skeptical about her cutting down from 145, but so far so good. She overcame a slow start against Sarah Moras and busted her up with vicious GNP for the second-round TKO finish. Chiasson and Aspen Ladd are clearly the two fighters to watch closely as they rise towards contender status.
- Bantamweight Vince Morales edged out Aiemann Zahabi by 29-28 unanimous decision in a fight that only featured action in spurts, and it’s certainly one I would not care to revisit.
- Welterweight veteran Nordine Taleb was far too composed and skilled offensively and defensively, as he picked apart late notice replacement Kyle Prepolec for the shutout decision. Prepolec will certainly be feeling the effects of those kicks on Sunday morning.
- Matt Sayles picked up his first UFC win over Canadian featherweight Kyle Nelson. Sayles dominated round one and nearly got a finish. Nelson turned the tables and dominated round two, nearly submitting Sayles. Then Sayles did get the arm-triangle choke finish in round three to cap off a fun scrap.
- Heavyweight Arjan Bhullar got some fairly generous scoring vs. Juan Adams, including a 30-27 in his favor when it certainly looked like a stronger argument for Adams getting the W outright despite being taken down twice. Bhullar then called out Andrei Arlovski, and I could do without seeing that.
- The prelims started with 5’11” bantamweight Cole Smith fending off a furious third-round rally to take an entertaining UFC debut win over veteran Mitch Gagnon.